KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- John Calvin, 52, will soon enter his eighteenth year at Lansing Prison.
The Kansas City man has spent half of his life locked up for a murder he says he did not commit and another man has reportedly confessed to doing.
As this family comes together, they are focused on one goal: proving his innocence.
“It’s tore us apart from the bottom of our hearts to our soul. l It’s a tragedy someone has been locked up for the amount of years he has been locked up for, and you get no help from the community and city that locked him up, and they know that he was wrongfully accused," Calvin's brother, Eric Calvin, said.
On Saturday, Sept. 7, family, friends and supporters gathered at Quindaro Park to raise funds for a new legal defense team. They started by selling $25 T-shirts that read, "Free John Keith Calvin."
Calvin is currently serving a life sentence for murder and attempted robbery in 2002. He was convicted one year after the crime, even though another man has said he’s responsible for pulling the trigger.
“He’s been staying strong and has faith that his prayers will be answered," Calvin said.
A Facebook group is acting as the sounding board for supporters called, "Free John Keith Calvin." Some are petitioning for the prosecutor to take another look at the case.
“We want to raise awareness all through Kansas City, Kansas. There are victims all through Wyandotte County, and we want them to know that we are here to support them, and this is just the beginning. We have a long road ahead of us, but the more people we get, the more people will be served justice," More2 (Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity) spokesperson, Khadijah Hardaway, said.
Calvin's family said they just want those in power to do what’s right to help reunite another family. Until then, they say they are not giving up the fight.
“We are never going to stop fighting for it until we see him come home," Calvin said. "There is no end of stopping the fight, and even after he comes home, we are going to keep fighting for the other innocent people in jail and need to come home."
So far, courts have rejected previous appeals.
Calvin will be eligible for parole on an earliest possible release date of April of 2023.